Final destiny: Cuba

Dear readers, this is the last episode of the jouney. I’m already back in Italy since a couple of weeks, and I’ll tell you the last part of the trip: Cuba
About Cuba we could talk for an entire blog, especially from the political point of view. Who loves it, who hate it, who sees it from a perspective, who from another. Who see it as an example of the failure of communism, who of a success of that, since, despite an economic embargo that lasts since decades, the average standard of living is still higher than in neighboring islands like Haiti, Santo Domingo and Jamaica. Also the majority of Mexicans are worse. Embargo imposed by the United States and justified because of the violation of human rights.
In this trip I went through most of South and Central America. The crimes against humanity committed by U.S. directly or indirectly are literally unspeakable, nothing to envy to those Nazis, and they speak of human rights in Cuba, that thanks to the revolution escaped them! We are at the final comic!
Then there is the certainly dramatic problem of the censorship, unacceptable to us used to say everything we think or know. As long as we stay within the limits of what the power wants to be told. Otherwise you better be ready to run inside the Ecuador embassy, because they will always find a girl with whom we fucked without a condom. So, in Cuba there is a ban to transmit. With us there is “permission to transmit and the prohibition to speak.”

I went already to Cuba 15 years ago and has not changed much. The center of Havana is falling to pieces, a large piece of cornice missed me for a couple of meters before disintegrating on the ground. Almost all the food shops are old and usually empty, vegetables are rare, the meat is found only in a few.
The prices between tourists and Cubans are very different, next to a store that sells a pizza for 5 cuc ($5, even at Leicester Square in London don’t dare so much) you find one that sells it for 5 pesos, one-twentieth of a dollar! In some cases, tourists can buy in pesos, in others not. To sleep and eat you can spend a lot or very little, I had a large apartment in the center of Havana, all for me, for just 15 dollars. To get around is quite expensive though.
Yet Havana is magical and unique. On the streets, thre are beautiful big American cars of the 50s, usually still in perfect condition. In the center, people are on the street listening to music, playing dominoes, baseball, football. Always ready to start up a conversation, telling their lives and speaking bad of the government. You are never alone and, despite the poverty, it is not dangerous, unlike almost all the big cities of Central and South America.
In the night people remain in the streets, in front of the house doors. Among the dim lights there are occasionally cocktails bars, some refined, some ugly, where in addition to alcohol they try to sell cigars, viagra, condoms and more. In the weekends they sit on the malecon, the waterfront, drinking and listening to music.

A couple of days after my arrival, I met again Eva, the Slovakian girl who lives in Costa Rica and with whom I had traveled to Panama and later in Nicaragua. After two days in Havana, we went to Vinales, near Pinar del Rio, where there are spectacular landscapes with rocks and cigars and rum is produced.
From there in Trinidad , an old colonial town, with cobbled streets and colorful houses. Very photogenic.

And now the photos.

Central Havana by night.

 

The Malecon, the waterfront.

 

Girl asking me to cook pasta.

 

Havana by night.

 

Hurricane Isaac approaches.

 

Two guys make fun of the sacred myths of the revolution.

 

Girl.

 

Boy.

 

Little girl sleeping in the bogie fruit.

 

Boys dive from the Malecon.

 

Domino players.

 

Just married.

 

A farmer from Vinales.

 

View of Trinidad.

 

Palaces of Trinidad.

 

Colored car.

 

Children.

 

Fidel, as you know, disappeared into thin air, then I speak:
Comrades, stop being catastrophic! The victory is near. The production of sugar cane rose, rum and cigars abound, roll up your sleeves and let’s stop whining! It’s all perfectly fine … ehhhh, wonderfull!!

 

Viva la Revolucion!

 


Map of the trip.
Fast summary. I started on January 17th to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. I went south to Porto Seguro, then north along the coast to the mouth of the Amazon river in Belem. From there, with a ship I sailed up the river to Manaus where at the beginning of March, I flew to Bogota, Colombia.I first visited the north (Cartagena, Tayrona Park, Lost City etc …), then I went to the south, Medellin, the area cafetera, San Augustin, and on mid April, I arrived to Otavalo, Ecuador. I passed through the Amazon rainforest to the east, until the beach near Guayaquil southwest. Then north again, quickly back in Colombia, up to Capurgana, near the border with Panama, where I arrived in late May by boat through the archipelago of San Blas. I went to the Pacific in Santa Catilina, again in Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic and mid-June I arrived in Costa Rica. Even there I touched both oceans, as well as inland areas of Monteverde and La Fortuna. At the beginning of July I arrived in San Juan in Nicaragua, and from there island Ometepe, Granada and Leon. In mid-July I crossed quickly San Salvador and came to Antigua in Guatemala. I went to the Honduras Maya site of Copan and to Caye Caulker in Belize. Back to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and from there to the beginning of August in San Cristobal, Mexico. After Oaxaca, I went to the Pacific in Mazunte, and to Cancun on the Atlantic to fly to Cuba.
Seven and a half months, 12 countries, thousands of miles run, no phone, new friends and amazing images that will bounce forever in my mind.

And a selection of photos of the whole journey.

Anyway, I’ll continue to write at this address (www.dekaro.com/blog_en) my future adventures, so stay in touch!

Thanks for following me! Kissessss :-)

Oaxaca, Mazunte, the Zapatista village Oventic, Campeche and Cancun

Hello dear readers. Here we come to the last but one post. The journey is in fact almost to the end. I am in Cancun, a very touristy town, where tomorrow I’ll fly to the legendary Cuba!
Let’s recap the last few days. From San Cristobal I went to Oaxaca, a beautiful city, where I met with Ketty, a friend from my city (Benevento), and her boyfriend Gianluca. We visited Monte Alban where there are the ruins of the most important city of the Toltecs. Then we went to sea in Mazunte, a bit ‘south of Puerto Escondido. We didn’t do many baths because the Pacific, as always, was angry, but the idleness of the village wrapped up nicely.
In the next village, San Agustin, there were waves even higher (whatever Lonely Planet says), spectacular, about 3 meters, while on the beach of Zipolite seemed as if just happened a tsunami. In fact, in earlier days, the storms made big damage.
I went back to San Cristobal with Ketty and Giuanluca, and we visited Oventic, a village about an hour by road, under control of the Zapatistas. Small, there was not much to see except beautiful murals on wooden houses praising the EZLN and the revolution.
After, I left Ketty and Gianluca, and to break the journey from Chiapas to the Yucatan I stopped one day in Campeche, a tidy city, with colorful houses, a beautiful promenade, and walls and bastions built after countless pirate attacks.
And finally in Cancun, I’ve already been here fifteen years ago and walking I can’t figure out if I remember it or if I confuse with other tourist cities made ​​with the same stencil, perhaps in a another continent or planet. Of nice there is only the sea, even the beaches are almost all fake, the sand brought from elsewhere. Another problem: to get to the beach often I had to pass through luxurious hotels full of rich gringos(*).

(*) ”Gringos” is the way in Mexico and Central America the U.S.A citizens are called. Comes from “green go” addressed to the marines.

 

The church of Chamula, near San Cristobal, one of the most evocative places visited during this trip. Inside, the syncretism between the Catholic religion and the ancient Mayan traditions is evident. Unfortunately it was forbidden to take pictures.
Dark, bare of decorations – the only are large flakes of colored cloth hanging from the ceiling. The floor is covered with pine needles and candles, around which sit and pray the faithful, some with chickens to be sacrificed. All around, tables with candles and statues of saints, often dressed in bright colors. There isn’t the altar and the place of honor, top center, is occupied by St. John, because the city is San Juan de Chamula. Even Jesus is in a position less visible, on the left.
Then, just before leaving San Cristobal, I saw in the museum of Mayan medicine that these rituals have very specific rules, such as the number and color of candles to light depending on whether it is to cast the evil eye, the envy, some disease or illness, etc… Rituals that have been handed down orally for thousands of years.

 

The entrance to the church.

 

Storm.

 

Natives.

 

Oaxaca street.

 

Fruit.

 

Inside Oaxaca market.

 

Oaxaca market.

 

Monte Alban, near Oaxaca. For over a millennium was the most important city of the Toltecs. Founded around 500 BC, reached in the early centuries AD a population between 15,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. It was abandoned around 750 A.D.

 

Ketty on the south steps of Monte Alban.

 

The monastery of Apostle Santiago, near Oaxaca. Beautiful, but unfortunately without roof, they never finished it!

 

The Mazunte beach, near Puerto Escondido. The wave almost to my room.

 

Better another beer with friends, there’s always time for swimming.

 

Again in San Cristobal. Three old ladies.

 

The sign in front of Oventic, the village under Zapatista control.

 

At the entrance the Zapatistas ask general information. Sometimes they take the passport during the visit and ask questions to see what is known of the EZLN. To me, Ketty and Gianluca asked only name, nationality and profession, and few minutes later we were in.

 

The Zapatistas take their name from Emiliano Zapata, a leader of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

 

Woman and child.

 

Zapatist primary school.

 

A little girl of the village.

 

Another little girl.

 

Happiness does not come by itself, let’s walk to it!

 

Sculpture in front of Campeche cathedral.

 

Campeche street.

 

Cloud, Campeche.

 

See you next time for the last episode!